viraf-5As all are aware since the early seventies allotments of houses is being done by most Parsi housing charity Trusts on Leave and License basis and not Tenancy basis since eviction of a Licensee is far easier and faster than eviction of a tenant, who is protected by the Rent Act.

The main reason the Parsi charity Trusts chose Leave & License over tenancy was so as to be able to enforce fully the Parsi Only Covenant against a Licensee, unlike its doubtful application to a tenant. Without the protection of the Parsi Only Covenant all our Parsi colonies and baugs would very soon become cosmopolitan baugs and the inherent Parsipanu found in these baugs would be lost forever.

During my campaigning for the October 2015 Trustees elections, I was constantly badgered to convert Leave license to Tenancy. During my campaign speeches I explained to everyone that the only way to protect and enforce the Parsi only covenant was through a License (as opposed to the provisions under the Rent Act which give tenants protection from eviction even if the Parsi Only Covenant is breached). Gladly what I saw was that majority of the community was over-whelming in favour of protecting the Parsi Only Covenant rather than converting all Licensees into tenancies.

Be that as it may – Many of the Licensees today, if not all, from various BPP Colonies have one very serious argument in their favour. It is their opinion that even though they lawfully abide by the terms of the License Agreement with the BPP, these Licensees are still under the sword of the Trustees, and capable of being misused by whomsoever they may be and hence they are always at the risk of being dis-housed.

Having heard this argument of the Licensees, I did some research of my own to see if the previous Trustees have ever misused their position of power to evict or threaten to evict beneficiaries with whom they had personal differences. I learnt that in the history of the BPP – never have the previous Trustees evicted any Licensee on any whimsical ground or because of political differences between the Trustees and the Licensee beneficiary.

However things now stand different. One year into my term of 7 years with the new Board under the Chairmanship of Yazdi Desai and things have drastically taken a nose dive. Licensees (who wish to remain anonymous for obvious reasons) have complained on several occasions that they are being subjected to all sorts of pressure tactics, only because they were non-supporters of the current board or have spoken against them during the previous election or have been critical of their policies, etc. I firmly believe that License cannot be allowed to be used as a tool to terrorize our beneficiaries.

Leave License cannot be a sword over the heads of our community members to cow them to submission to the demands of the Trustees who are there only for a temporary duration. When I advocated the Parsi Only Covenant instead of Tenancy, I had presumed that all Trustees elected would be honourable men and women who would not take advantage of the onerous clauses of the Leave License Agreements and force beneficiaries to succumb to the diktats of the Trustees and threaten them with cancellation of their license and eviction on the slightest pretext.

Since the Leave License gives enough powers of possible mis-use to the Trustees to threaten our residents peremptory cancellation of their License, I moved the board of Trustees by my morning mail of 6th December 2016 to include in the Agenda of board meeting of the same day of 6th December 2016 to add a special Item:

“Discussion and consideration to convert all LL Agreements of BPP beneficiaries to Tenancy.”

However at the said board meeting, I was not allowed to discuss the said item by both Yazdi Desai and Kersi Randeria who mocked me stating that the elections were over and there was no need to take up this ‘populist move’ now and to stop playing politics with the Board. When I requested Yazdi to postpone the item for next meeting when all of us could come better prepared to discuss the ramifications, Yazdi Desai categorically turned down my request as not sustainable and informed CEO not to take this item again on any Agenda.

Since Minutes of meetings and its drafts, documents, files, payment statements, etc are being denied to Mrs. Armaity Tirandaz and me on ground that we are passing board information to Muncherji Cama and Dinshaw Mehta, the administration have been instructed not to give us any information on any matter without their permission. I am not aware what minutes have been passed, if at all on my above proposal, hence I have no way to ascertain what they have recorded in that day’s Minutes and all that I can do is state the facts as they transpired on this subject at that meeting.

I am convinced that the safety and independence of our residents is paramount which only the Rent Act provides. Since it is possible for the Trustees to misuse their power and begin to threaten and evict Licensees on flimsy grounds stemming from personal or political issues or policy differences rather than flagrant breach of terms of license and specifically the Parsi only covenant then I propose that from now onwards only Tenancy be given to all our residents and all already executed and valid Leave License Agreements should be converted to Tenancy. With six more years of my term ahead of me, this is most certainly not a populous nor a political move as alleged by my co-Trustees.

I am aware that stamp duty liability for converting Licenses to tenancy will increase the burden on beneficiaries and this issue can be addressed at the appropriate time.

I would request all community members for their input by writing/conveying to me your views on my proposal so as to enable me to frame a proper representation to Statutory Authorities to take the concept of conversion of License to Tenancy forward and give our residents protection under the Rent Act.

In the interim, I urge all Licensees not to be worried of the threat of eviction on patently whimsical grounds by the Trustees for their own political Agendas. I personally pledge that if any beneficiary Licensee is evicted on the whim of the majority Trustees without sufficiently overwhelming cause then I will not sign such a suit for eviction and will opt to be made a Defendant in such a suit and will personally help the beneficiary to defend and protect his home.

Awaiting your response.



Published on Bombay Samachar